Hello everyone! I will be filling in for Kendra Bunyon this week for the IW Blog Zone. Kendra will be back next week, so don't worry. Now bare with me as I grade segments and matches completely different from how Kendra may. Speaking of Kendra, I am able to confirm that she interviewed Doug Williams on Thursday. The audio is being edited and it should be up for everyone early next week! As far as me, I will be going to TNA Wrestling's live event tomorrow, Saturday. I'll be giving my thoughts on the show throughout the evening, so if you want to check that out, simply like my Facebook page! Now, let's get started!
Opening video package - B+
I love the way TNA opens their shows. While it may be predictable that we see a video open every week, it's something that you really have to look into. It's all about story telling. Let's face it, wrestling shows these days are about the stories. It's not about the wrestling anymore. The stories bring people in and keep them watching. Well, TNA wants to remind you of what happened in previous weeks and to educate the new fans. It would be quite amusing to watch opening videos from a year ago and see how much the show has developed. That's just me though.
Bully Ray backstage promo - A
I don't want to mention the small little segments of the show, but I really wanted to mention this. I wrote on my Facebook page that this segment was clever in regards to TNA and Bully Ray. The news last week was that Brooke Hogan got engaged. Well, I wrote an article about that (view here). I thought it was going to hurt the credibility of the whole story between Brooke and Ray. Yeah, we know it is all storylines, but Brooke and Ray were trying to play it off as an actual situation when they first got married. Bully mentioning the engagement in this segment brought real to the wrestling show. It's something that's not done too often. Kudos to TNA and Bully for doing this segment.
In-ring segment with Aces & 8s and Main Event Mafia - B-
I love Bully Ray on the mic, but there are few things that, looking at it, I find wrong with it. First of all, when Aces came out the audio was muted for some reason. We saw the fans booing, but we heard nothing. I have no idea what was going on on the production end. As for the segment, it was more like a recap of what tonight's show will be like. Ray did Hulk's usual job of running down the show. Main Event Mafia came out and they hyped for their newest member. The segment told a story, but it's almost the story we already know.
Jeff Hardy & Joseph Park vs. AJ Styles & Samoa Joe - B
First off, I like to say that the whole Joker's Wildcard concept was cool. I know TNA had a whole One Night Only PPV dedicated to the Joker's Wildcard concept, but I didn't watch it. I was hesitant on whether this concept would work or not, but it did. In fact, it has shown how these characters on the show are developing. Each character has their own friends and enemies. Each are connected somehow. Anyway, I enjoyed this match because we saw AJ Styles team with Samoa Joe and we seen both of them fight Jeff Hardy during the match. The fact that we could see Jeff Hardy vs. AJ Styles still gets me because it just sounds like a great match. The match was just over 5 minutes long, and while some say it was too short, I didn't mind it. Each worker showed their own style in the ring. It was a nice opening match.
Jay Bradley & Hernandez vs. Mr. Anderson & Magnus - B+
These Joker Wildcard matches have that saying of, "Anything can happen." Certainly anyone can team up against anyone, but the fact that this match and the next match came out to be like this is the instance of being too fixed. Sure it makes for great television, but it crosses that line of being script/fake. At any rate, I liked how they paired Magnus and Anderson in this. More so, I loved how these two acted in the match. Anderson wanted in but wouldn't tag Magnus. He came in, ran around and tagged back out. Ken then had something in his eye and had a yawning spell. That's the kind of stuff that gives you an instance reaction. On the other side, Hernandez and Jay fought last week, but now they are teaming up. I want to get behind Jay, but I haven't seen anything special from him in this match. The reason why is because Magnus and Anderson out-shined him. I wouldn't have booked this match any differently.
Austin Aries, Bobby Roode, Kazarian, and Christopher Daniels backstage segment - A
I love how Roode and Aries play off each other, but I also love the chemistry that Kazarian and Daniels have. Combining these four stars in a segment is gold. Roode is focusing on himself while Aries wants Roode to focus on him. Kaz and Daniels enter and spice up the segment as they are thinking it will be Bad Influence vs. Roode & Aries later. The thing I learned about both Aries and Roode is that they both find Bad Influence annoying. Just great chemistry here.
Daniels & Aries vs. Roode & Kaz - A+
This very well would be the Match of the Night if the Knockout Ladder Match didn't take place. I really enjoyed this match from top to bottom. As I stated in their segment, these stars have great chemistry. It proves my statement even more with this match. Some people were expecting it to be Bad Influence vs. Aries/Roode, but I like what TNA did here by splitting them up. Daniels was trying to protect Kaz, and vise versa, but they also didn't want each other to get the win. Roode and Aries had no problem fighting each other because their always about one upping one another. The end with Kaz and Daniels worked out perfectly. I hope that Kaz getting the pin won't affect the relationship with Daniels in the future because I don't think I can afford to see Bad Influence break up. Kaz was at the right place at the right time and moves on. Great execution!
Brooke and Hulk Hogan backstage segment - C
This segment wasn't special by any means. There were some notable things that came out of it though and it mostly came from Broke's end. Brooke wants to focus on the Knockout Ladder Match because she is in charge of the Knockout division, but she also really didn't bring Bully Ray up while Hulk insisted that she drop Ray off. Does Brooke still have feeling for him? I'm quite disappointed that we haven't seen more results from when Brooke stopped the hammer shot that Hulk was going to do to Bully. I surely thought we would see Brooke turn, but it leveled off. TNA likes to jump around, but it's been awhile. Hopefully they are going back to that so we can either see this story develop even more or have it end so other stories can be focused on.
Aces & 8s backstage segment - B
It was quite obvious at the end of the day that Mr. Anderson would be the new VP of Aces & 8s. Even though the Aces' members voted, you knew TNA would build the story with Ken. He has grown over the past couple of months to be Ray's right hand man. Ken is not a bad choice at all because he is a great worker in the ring and on the mic. He can play a heel perfectly. I do like the internal heat inside Aces & 8s as Doc really isn't too happy. In fact, he has reasons why to be mad at Ken and Knux and anyone who voted for Ken during this segment. Will Doc be the next D-Lo? Will he be tossed out? Or will he secretly go against Aces? Maybe feed Main Event Mafia information? While Ken rose up on the ladder, we have to watch Doc in the next couple of weeks.
Gail Kim vs. Taryn Terrell in a Ladder Match - A+
There's no doubt in my mind that this match deserves an A+! I actually wrote to a TNA writer David Lagana about having a Knockout Ladder Match. I sent it in right after Slammiversary. About a month later, here is the match! I was excited for this match for weeks. It finally came. I was like a little kid on Christmas morning. I couldn't wait to see how this went down. It didn't disappoint. Each star took hard bumps. In fact, Taryn's leg was heavily bruised. I applaud these two for their hard work. While Gail Kim won the match, Taryn beat her at Slammiversary. So, it is 1-1. Will we see one more? A Steel Cage Match? Only time will tell. At any rate, I would advice you to watch this match. I talked to a casual wrestling fan today and he stated that he really didn't find this match that great. Certainly one fan's opinion compared to many more out there, but I found that quite interesting.
Kurt Angle & Sting backstage - B
These little segments were all about hyping the newest member of the Main Event Mafia. People have been waiting the entire show to find out who it is and they still have to wait, but there's no reason why they can't hype it. This segment did just that with that phone call for Sting.
6 Man Gauntlet Match - B
There's isn't a match that can follow the Knockout Ladder Match, but this match had a completely different story wrapped around it. It is the Bound for Glory Series time. The whole show was focused around the series and it will all end in this match, well for this week's show. Who will walk away with 25 points? Magnus did, but I wasn't exactly thrilled. I was more shocked. Sometimes being shocked is better than being right. Sometimes being shocked is better than doing what is right. I certainly thought AJ Styles would win or even Mr. Anderson. I would have actually had AJ win the match, but Magnus came out on top and has a huge lead above everyone else in the series. Everyone will be trying to catch up to him, but that is going to be hard to do. Don't forget, we still have two and a half months left for this series. Whoever wins will simply deserve it. Magnus won tonight and we are seeing how much TNA likes this guy. They are really pushing him. That's not a problem at all as I can probably bet he won't win at the end. It's great to give Magnus exposure and to build a show around a new guy. His time will be soon.
In-ring segment - B+
I completely agree that TNA should have ended with this segment. Some say they should have ended it with the Knockout Ladder Match while some say they should have ended it with the Bound for Glory Series, but this was the right way to do end it because they need to promote Destination X. Destination X is next week and they need to make it a huge deal. They need to make the story carry over to next week. Having it at the end does just that. It hypes it and promotes it. I have to give TNA praise because they really made Destination X a big deal in just 3 weeks. Sure, WWE has their monthly PPVs, but they don't necessarily build stories every month. TNA did build a main story and made it quite a big deal in 3 weeks. Will Austin Aries challenge Bully Ray? Who is Suicide? Will Chris Sabin cash it in? All of these questions in just 3 weeks. While Bully Ray's mic work is always great, Chris actually surprised me with his. He isn't the best, or even on Ray's level, but he shocked me. It was almost like a CM Punk shock. No one thought Punk could pull some of his stuff off. I didn't think Chris could pull an entertaining promo like that off. He did. I liked it and liked how he focused it on thing and wrapped it up nicely.
The segment went on to include the next Main Event Mafia member. It was Rampage Jackson. Certainly someone who I haven't thought of when I wrote my article on possible members of the Main Event Mafia (article here). I would have liked it to be Jeff Jarrett or I even thought it would be Jeff Hardy. Rampage Jackson wasn't on my list. Nice surprise. The whole concept of the Main Event Mafia is quite different from the original. Some thing that is bad, but it really isn't. The MEM is new and improved. Why have all veteran type stars? It's time to grow new talent. I would have liked to see someone new, who isn't on the roster, join the group. Just think, Sting said no one helped him in his match against Bully Ray at Slammiversary. So, no one in the back helped him, yet he joins with people who are in the back every night. Doesn't fully make sense. Maybe that they are on the same page now makes it work.
This week's show lived up to my expectations. It was a show that really showed how each character developments to be their own self and it shows the multiple stories that are going on in TNA right now. In fact, there are even more stories that we haven't seen like the tag team division. Just too many for a two hour show! I enjoyed it and hope you did too. Next week is Destination X and I can't wait to give you coverage for the show. Certainly going to be a fun and fast show, so I better drink my coffee and rest my fingers! Hope you join my on my Facebook page as I continue to talk about wrestling there. Like my Facebook page and interact with me.